“I think your trust in me, and the respect I have for you, entitles you to an explanation for my relatively abrupt departure from this office. Many of you have asked why I took the unusual step of not only curtailing my career before retirement but leaving this assignment earlier than required and without a job lined up. I hope you accept my apology for not having the courage to answer you honestly before now.

I have great admiration for the work this center does to help policymakers make the best-informed decisions possible. I have looked on in awe as some of you literally spoke truth to power.

But this office does not only inform policy. It facilitates, and, at times, directly executes policy.

And the policy that has never been far from my mind for the past six months is the nearly unqualified support for the government of Israel, which has enabled and empowered the killing and starvation of tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians. As we were recently reminded, this unconditional support also encourages reckless escalation that risks wider war.

My work here—however administrative or marginal it appeared—has unquestionably contributed to that support. The past months have presented us with the most horrific and heartbreaking images imaginable—sometimes playing on the news in our own spaces—and I have been unable to ignore the connection between those images and my duties here. This caused me incredible shame and guilt. Most of you know I already intended to leave the Army at some point, but this moral injury is what led me to finally submit my resignation on November 1.

I understand that these words come as a surprise for many of you. Despite my anxieties, I continued to do my job with seeming enthusiasm and without voicing my concerns.

I had my reasons:

I hoped if I held on a little longer, the war would be over.

I hoped time and again that the latest ‘outrage’ would finally prompt a material shift in support for Israel (you know what they say about the definition of insanity).

I told myself my individual contribution was minimal, and that if I didn’t do my job, someone else would, so why cause a stir for nothing?

I told myself I don’t make policy and it’s not my place to question it.

Above all I was afraid. Afraid of violating our professional norms. Afraid of disappointing officers I respect. Afraid you would feel betrayed. I’m sure some of you will feel that way reading this.

These are not indefensible reasons. Each of us signed up to serve knowing we might have to support policies we weren’t fully convinced of. Our defense institutions couldn’t function otherwise. However, at some point it became difficult to defend the outcomes of this particular policy. At some point—whatever the justification—you’re either advancing a policy that enables the mass starvation of children, or you’re not.

I know that I did, in my small way, wittingly advance that policy. And I want to clarify that as the descendant of European Jews, I was raised in a particularly unforgiving moral environment when it came to the topic of bearing responsibility for ethnic cleansing—my grandfather refused to ever purchase products manufactured in Germany—where the paramount importance of ‘never again’ and the inadequacy of ‘just following orders’ were oft repeated. I am haunted by the knowledge that I have failed those principles. But I also have hope that my grandfather would afford me some grace; that he would still be proud of me for stepping away from this war, however belatedly.

I know that I would also regret waiting any longer to share my story with you. Because the hardest part of the past six months was feeling totally alone—like I was the only one disturbed by the footage from Gaza. The only one who felt like a participant, not just a passive observer, in the destruction there. For six months, I never heard anyone speak about the war in those terms, ever. I felt like I was living in an alternate universe.

I now realize the obvious—if I was afraid to voice my concerns, you were too. I have always known what kind of people you are, and I should have had more faith in this team.

So I am deliberately not sending this to the entire Agency. I am writing to people I know, who might value hearing the reasons I chose to walk away. I understand that’s not a choice available to everyone, and it’s not what I’m demanding of you—we all have our own lists of reasons to stay.

I just want you to know you’re not alone.”

— from a letter made public on May 13 by former Major Harrison Mann of the Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. Army


Dr Soufian Taih, 52 years old, president of the Islamic University of Gaza, and his family were martyred in a massacre in the Faluja area in Jabalia, northern Gaza. Dr Taih held a professorship in theoretical physics and applied mathematics. He was awarded the Abdul Hameed Shoman Award for Young Arab Scientists and many other scientific awards. He made significant contributions in the field of studies and scientific research, published regularly in prestigious scientific journals. In 2023, he was appointed holder of the UNESCO Chair in Physics and Astronomy in Palestine.

The historian

Dr Jihad Suleiman Al-Masri, 60 years old, was martyred due to his injuries from an Israeli airstrike on Khan Yunis, where he joined his wife and daughter. Dr Al-Masri was a historian and university professor who significantly impacted many generations. He served as director of the Al-Quds Open University, Khan Yunis branch, and contributed numerous research papers in Islamic history and Palestinian oral tradition, published in Arab and international journals.

The folk artist

The renowned folk artist in Gaza, Mahmoud Al-Jabari, known as Al-Nabtashi, is believed to have been martyred mid-October. He had a significant presence in organizing various national and social festivals.

The poet

The poet Omar Fares Abu Shaweesh, 36 years old, was martyred in the shelling of the Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza. He was a prominent social activist with varied contributions to society, youth, culture, and intellectual fields. He co-founded several youth associations and organizations and received numerous local and international awards, including Best National Song of the Year 2007 at the International Festival of National Song and Heritage in Jordan. His literary contributions included poetry collections and a 2016 novel, Alā qayd al-mawt.

The cultural activist

Iman Khalid Abu Saeed, along with her children Joudi, Ziyad, and her husband Eyad, and 22 members of her family, was martyred in the Nuseirat refugee camp after being forced to evacuate their home in Tel al-Hawa. Iman was known for her cultural and empowerment work for children. Her latest project involved collecting seashells, cleaning them, and making decorative items for homes. She also documented the days of the blockade in the Gaza Strip through oral history at the Tamer Institute for Community Education.

The artist

Enas Mohammed Al-Saqa, 53 years old, was martyred along with her daughters Sarah and Leen, and her son Ibrahim. She was a specialized artist in visual arts and theater and worked extensively in children’s theater. She was one of the pioneers of theater in Gaza. Her last post on social media read, ‘Sometimes you look back to glimpse at your past and discover that you emerged alive from a massacre.’

The music teacher

Music teacher Ilham Farah, 84 years old, was martyred on November 13 due to injuries sustained when an Israeli sniper shot her just meters away from her home. She was the first music teacher in the educational system in Gaza, and her neighbors in Gaza City called her ‘The Lady of the Ever-Smiling Orange’ in reference to her orange hair.

— from the Fourth Preliminary Report on Cultural Sector Damage, Ministry of Culture, Ramallah, occupied Palestine